Beauty and the Beast fans, get ready for the biggest shock of the season.
Sendhil Ramamurthy is joining the cast as new Assistant District Attorney Gabe Lowen, and although the actor couldn't be more excited, he realizes Gabe will be a hard sell to fans who don't want the world of Catherine and Vincent rocked any more than it has been already.
On this week's "Any Means Possible," a new task force focused on finding the vigilante will be created and Catherine will find herself stuck in the middle as a major player on the force, as well as Vincent's love interest. Ramamurthy provided great insight on what to expect from the back nine episodes of Beauty and the Beast Season 1, as teased in the following Q&A...
TVF: What can you tell me about Gabe Lowen, this Assistant District Attorney that is going to cause all kinds of problems?
I can tell you that he's going to call all kinds of problems! He's the new ADA and basically comes into the precinct and tells everybody that he thinks they're all doing a terrible job. He essentially says, 'I think you should have caught the vigilante by now, there's been another murder and it's basically happened on your own doorstep. Your own police Lieutenant's brother has been murdered by the vigilante, you dropped the ball again and I'm here to fix it.'
So, right away he makes a lot of friends. He doesn't care. He's not there to be liked. He gets into people's faces, he rubs them the wrong way and there's a reveal at the end of the episode that shows why he approached all of the characters on the show that we know and love the way he did. As the episodes go on, you kind of wonder, has this guy gone off the deep end? What's going on? Why is he so aggressive? Why is he so passionate about finding out who the vigilante is and bringing him to justice?
There's bringing a sense of justice and there's being a zealot about going after somebody, and this consumes him. He eats, lives and breathes finding the vigilante. I think it raises a lot of questions for the other characters. It raises a lot of eyebrows. Why is he doing this?
It will raise questions for the audience, too. This guy is kind of a jerk. He's really aggressive and he's in your face and why is he doing that? As the episodes go on, you find out what his motivations are and you get a lot about his back story. Certainly in the episode we're shooting now, you find a lot about Gabe and you learn that Gabe has a connection to Catherine's past and it's cool how it's done. It's a really cool way to kind of reveal what's going on with this character and what makes him tick. All is not what it seems. As with all good writing, there is a kind of a sharp turn in the episodes after Thursday's episode that will take you in a different direction, and you'll see Gabe in a new light after this information is revealed.
The introduction of this character in general amps up all the stakes, and it amps up the danger for all of the characters. I think it's a great thing for the show. The core of the show is already terrific. The audience has already responded to the relationship between Catherine and Vincent and the love story that's there. I think Jay and Kristen do a fantastic job of playing those scenes, because they could be really schmaltzy, if you think about it. Especially if you have two actors who aren't as good as Kristen and Jay, it could turn out to be like a Harlequin romance novel, and you don't want that on television. But it's not that, and it's not going anywhere.
What I think is slightly different is the danger and the stakes for them and the surrounding characters all gets raised with the introduction of Gabe and, as we're kind of barrelling toward the season finale, everybody is kind of in danger. Everybody has issues and is placed in danger - physical danger, emotional danger, dangers of all different sorts. There are going to be some sad moments that come up on the next few episodes of Beauty and the Beast. They didn't shy away from that. It's not all honky dory, let's all be in love and ride off into the sunset, because there's no story then, there's no show.
The stakes are really high in the last three or four episodes leading up into the finale, certainly, and you get big chunks of information that are revealed to the audience. That's always satisfying as a viewer, but also as an actor. There are always, inevitably, moments where you have to be treading water story wise and you're not really revealing a lot. But, the advantage of this character coming in for the back nine episodes is there is no time to mess around. You have to get to the season finale and reveal all that information and we're barrelling toward that very quickly right now.
Are you prepared for the backlash you're going to take from the fans?
I haven't met any Beasties yet, but I have heard they're very passionate. Like I said, he's not there to be liked initially. He's going to rub people the wrong way. They're going to wonder why he's such a jerk, why he's doing this. But I think what's important to remember about Gabe is that once you discover his motivation, you'll find out he's a clever guy, he's a really smart guy, and he uses these things to get what he wants. It's not that that's how he is, but you can get a lot out of somebody by rubbing them the wrong way. You see that a lot in the first episode. He really doesn't make any pretense about making friends with these people. It's really not about that at all for him. So yeah, there's gonna be some backlash. I'm fully aware of that. I think when you find why Gabe is like he is and why he does what he does and his relationships with the other characters are revealed, you're really going to see him in a different light.
What you see on the cover of the character's book on Thursday is not what's inside. I was pleasantly surprised and very satisfied with the way it was done, and I hope that's the way the viewers see it, too. But again, I knew that coming into the show and you're taking a risk every time you take a role like this. I knew this guy was going to push buttons. That is not just for the characters on the show, but the viewers as well. You always need someone to root against on a show, but ultimately, I think that the writers did something very clever, because you're also going to feel for him, as well, once stuff comes out. That's the mark of good writing, and that's all that you can ask for.
Is there any one character that will feel for Gabe and work with him rather than against him, or will he just rub everybody the wrong way?
At first, Gabe dines alone. A lot. For the first episodes he's Johnny No Mates. But, he certainly has a relationship with Catherine that is adversarial. They kind of butt heads. I'm having a blast working with her. With the relationship that develops with them, he starts to feel comfortable enough with her that he starts to open up with her about certain things and she opens up to him, as well. Ultimately, their relationship changes. At first, it's not great and they don't get along. Because, unbeknownst to Gabe, she knows who the vigilante is, she's in love with him and she's trying to hide that. But because Gabe is a pretty savvy guy, he figures out pretty quickly that she's hiding something, he just can't figure out what it is. So the question is: is he going to figure it out, and if he does, when will he figure it out and what will he do about it? These will all be answered by the finale.
And we've all wondered, who will work with Cat and Vincent instead of against them?
Exactly. And one of the questions it raises is we've got the big, bad Muirfield lurking in the background. This organization that has done all these things to these soldiers and made Vincent what he is. Things are revealed, and one of the questions raised very early on is does Gabe have a connection to Muirfield? Is he working for them? You get answers to that very quickly and, again, good and bad is all relative. That's one of the things I hope the audience feels. That a person's actions can be for his good, but he ultimately feels there are pure reasons, but to the outside may not feel like that at first but, maybe it does.
It's treading a fine line and difficult to write. I think the writers have done a great job of having this character walk that tight rope. There will be a scene where you think, 'oh, I get it now,' and then another when you think, 'oh no, why are you doing that?' He's really a layered character, and it's really enjoyable to play. At one point the audience will hate him and then they'll like him. Those doors are there to be opened, and they'll be done so, slowly.
From my understanding, your part was to be minor, until they saw a greater potential once you were on set and how you handled the role. Did you really go from a small arc to regular cast member essentially overnight?
I am that good. (Laughs) I came on for a a bit arc at first, one episode, and they saw potential and thought they could make something of it. I'd love to take all the credit and say I was wonderful. I hope I am, but I don't know that. It's not my job to say that. It was more about story and seeing they could go a lot of directions with this part, and I was just the guy who was lucky enough to get the call to play it. I got really fortunate that they were willing to take a risk on me and now I'm a part of the show.
Now that you're part of the team, have you heard anything from the network about the chances for renewal? It seems like with the change in focus this character brings, they have faith in the future of the story.
From your lips to God's ears as far as a second season renewal. We all live in hope here. I think that, to be totally honest, it's all going to lie in how this storyline and the change in direction of the show is perceived. It's great. I think it's designed to bring more people in, which is always the hope. As far as I know, and this question is above my pay grade, the network and the studio seem to be really supportive so far of everything that's happening. They seem to be really into the storyline and really into the way the show is going now. That's moving away from the procedural element and toward the slightly serialized - there's more mythology coming into the show. I know I always like that; I think it's the fun part. I really, really hope we're able to get a second season because there are a lot of wormholes that opened with the introduction of this character and the changes of dynamic that he brings, not only between Catherine and Vincent but between the other characters.
There is a lot more story to be told and a lot more mythology to be explored. But, you never know. I'm the antagonist in the story. I could be dead in the final episode. I have no idea! That's always an option. It could BE the final episode, I hope not, but you never know. From what I'm reading so far, and I'm flipping through the next episode - someone just stuck it in front of me while we've been talking - there's great stuff coming up. I think it's going to be rewarding. It's stuff that nobody's going to expect. For me, just personally, as a viewer of television, that's what I respond to. I'm not the guy who likes to watch the procedural that has a beginning, a middle and an end. I like to have a lot of options. And that's an understatement. Especially since I just flipped to the last page of this episode and (laughs) there are a LOT of options.
What episode were you just given?
It's the 19th episode. The network studio draft of the 19th episode. I'll tell you this. You're the only one who's getting this, because this was just handed to me - this is so cool! What happens on the last page is so cool, it's just going to floor you. For the 19th episode, so keep that in mind. I'm floored! Seriously. I'm floored. I just read it. It involves me. It involves Gabe and it involves Catherine. It's literally the last scene of the episode and then it fades. So, watch this space because it's gonna be cool.
We get so much emotion and feedback from the fans on TV Fanatic. It's amazing. It's such a fun show to cover.
That's great. We're aware of all of that. We know how passionate the fans are and we are so grateful. You know, I've been on shows where there has been a great, passionate fanbase, but it was also pre-Twitter and social media wasn't at the height it is now. Now, it's immediate. You know exactly what people are thinking. Like I said, I haven't met a Beastie yet, because I haven't aired; I've heard about them, but I haven't met them. They may want to punch me in the face after this first episode. (Laughs)
That's why I asked if you were prepared. I'm afraid that might be the reaction. Beauty and the Beast fans take everything that happens between Cathering and Vincent very personally.
Maybe I'm not. I'm not on Twitter.
Maybe you better start perusing it!
Everybody else is on Twitter, so I'm gonna hear about it. And that's cool, that's alright. You know why that's alright? Because I know what's coming, and they don't. When they see it, I think they're gonna be floored.
I didn't have high expectations coming into Beauty and the Beast, but more than any other show this season, the writing, and the story and character progression has been phenomenal.
If you think the writing has been great so far, you will be impressed. I know it's an actor's job to plug the show, but I really mean this. It really will surprise the hell out of you. Not just the revelations of my character, but where all the characters go. It's going to surprise you. It's going to hook you in. I've never actually been a big genre guy, and I'm into it. I hope the viewers are too, and I hope they tell their friends and family.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.